Moments after he was disqualified for an illegal knee to the head of his opponent in his UFC debut on Saturday night, Greg Hardy said that the foul wasn’t deliberately breaking the rules.
"Show me one time I’ve ever cheated in my life,” Hardy said (via MMAJunkie.com). “Show me one other lineman or one of their favorite quarterbacks in history that I’ve ever cheated against. Go ask Tom Brady if I cheated when I sacked him.
“I’m not a cheater. That’s not on my record. That’s not on my résumé. Thirty years of life, not one time. Not one time have you ever asked me a question and I’ve lied to you. Not one time have you ever seen me stand up here and I told you it wasn’t my fault. I was there. I did it. It’s my responsibility. I’m a grown man. That’s my character.”
The heavyweight fight was halted at 2 minutes 28 seconds of the second round by referee Dan Miragliotta when Hardy kneed Allen Crowder as he lay on the mat. Hardy apologized to Crowder and blamed the move on inexperience in the sport.
“He was getting up; it was inexperience in mistiming it, man,” he said (via MMAfighting.com). “But I was trying to time it like I had just watched Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone do, like I saw everybody else do, and I thought it was the right thing to do at the time. And it was not. I messed up.”
Hardy was welcomed by UFC as he tries to ascend to the athletic achievements he reached in the NFL before his career went off the rails. Hardy washed out after a combative, distracting stint with the Dallas Cowboys, who had signed him after his release by the Carolina Panthers. While with the Panthers, the former all-pro defensive end had been involved in a domestic violence incident in 2014 and was arrested on a cocaine charge two years later. His participation on the fight card, the first broadcast by ESPN, triggered controversy.
“I was built to do this,” Hardy said Saturday night. “I was made to do this, man, and I let people down today. I let my gym down. I let my team down. And you know what? It sucks, man. I didn’t want him to go out like that. That sucks for Allen Crowder man, for him to go out like that, no matter how he feels about me, that’s not okay, you know? I take full responsibility for this. It’s not something I’d do on purpose. Anybody that’s ever met me or been around me knows it’s not something I would do. I wish we could go back and go into the third round, man.”
Hardy, 3-1 as a pro in mixed martial arts and 0-1 in UFC competition, vowed to return. “I’m here to stay. As long as [UFC President] Dana White, ESPN and all of you guys will have me, I’m here to stay,”‘ he said. “I’m going to fix what I did wrong. And it wasn’t intentional.”
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